5 steps to make the most of customer feedback

Teams often underestimate how powerful it is to receive feedback from a customer. After all, for every one customer complaint online, 26 other customers feel the same way but don’t say anything.

Customer feedback is valuable for your entire company — not just support or success teams — so don't let it collect dust in the corners of your inbox, support tickets, or individual notes.

Here are five tips for making the most of customer feedback, so your whole team can benefit and serve customers better.

5 steps to make the most of customer feedback

1. Organize feedback into a central place

Customer feedback can come from a variety of sources, including survey responses, support tickets, customer emails, CRM notes, PDF files, sales calls, reports, NPS comments, review sites, and more. To make the most of it all, organize it into a one-stop-shop for your whole team to reference — not just your support or customer success team.

Since you don't want your team to have to spend time copying-and-pasting these things, automation here is key. There are a few tools that make this easier for your team:

  • Use Zapier, an automation tool, to route feedback from these sources directly into a customer database, product management tool, or even a basic spreadsheet.
  • Use Guru, an internal knowledge base, which lets you create new knowledge cards automatically from tools like Slack.
  • Use Front, an inbox for customer emails, live chat, social media, reviews, and more, to make a customer feedback inbox and organize messages by customer, sentiment, and more.

2. Jot down anecdotal feedback on sales calls and demos

When most people think of customer feedback, they usually default to existing customers. While that’s important, you should also actively collect feedback from prospects. This feedback can often be a gold mine, as it’s unfiltered and comes from someone who is just learning about your product.

Training your sales team to ask and actively listen for feedback can help:

  • Improve the product by identifying weak features or sticking points
  • Come up with better responses to sales objections
  • Lead to more sales and clients who stick around longer because they feel like they are being heard

3. Use charts and graphs to back up anecdotal feedback and tell a story

Visual learners make up 65 percent of the total population. Why not create charts or graphs for all of your customer feedback on a weekly or monthly basis? This will help you more easily spot customer trends and make the most of your customer feedback.

For example, Tess Dixon, who formerly managed the community support team at Tumblr, often used this strategy to share context. She found that when she reported on ticket volume about a product launch, it didn’t seem to sink in. When she made a chart of the growing volume over the past month and showed it next to a chart of total volume, that gave the message some more weight.

4. Share specific customer stories

Another way to make the most of customer feedback is to turn it into customer stories. These don't just have to be a bunch of paragraphs on a page, though. Try these creative ideas:

  • Make slideshow presentations for the company to share at All-hands, for instance.
  • Capture direct quotes and keep them in a quote bank in Google Sheets, Airtable, or your internal knowledge base.
  • Make videos! Vidyard shares some great tips for making a killer video customer story.
  • Make PDFs featuring customer feedback and hang them around the office. Easily edit them with JotForm to keep them updated.

You can take this a step further by linking these stories directly to key customer personas. Jenny Dempsey, customer experience manager at NumberBarn, has created a system for organizing these stories into Smiles (positive stories) and Opportunities for Awesome (negative experiences). This helps her keep the feedback organized and actionable; she always treats it as a gift, no matter how awesome or not so awesome it might be.

5. Link goals for every department to customer feedback

Customer feedback can get ignored by teams that aren't directly interacting with customers day in and day out. One way to keep this from happening is to hold every department — from marketing and sales to product, engineering, and support — accountable. You can do this by tying at least one department-wide metric to customer feedback.

Here are a few examples of goals around customer feedback you can set for each individual team:

  • Marketing: Use customer feedback to write customer stories for each key buyer persona
  • Product: Speak directly with customers before and after developing features
  • Data: Categorize customer feedback like NPS scores to identify trends in their responses
  • Sales: Utilize customer feedback like positive reviews to showcase benefits to prospects

Once you've set a goal, remind everyone of it regularly. Keep them top of mind for everyone by sharing these reports with everyone in the company, either in an email or at All-hands meetings.

This can go a long way in creating a company culture that cares about its customers and acts on their feedback. This doesn’t mean you should say yes to every feature request, but it does mean that you should read every piece of feedback and thoughtfully respond.

Customer feedback is gold — make the most of it!

When you build processes and systems around gathering feedback, it will help you better understand your customers and track trends in what they're looking for. Then you’ll have the insights to deliver a product and experience that exceeds their expectations.

how to gather customer feedback to it's useful

This story is a guest post by Annabel Maw, Marketing Communications Manager at JotForm.